Is there a way to copy the currently written content of the bash prompt? Say I wrote:

ping www.google.com

so that the lines in terminal looks like:

petr@sova:~$ ping www.google.com

and didn't hit return yet. I want to copy that text to clipboard. Is that possible?

The usual usecase would be hitting up several times and finding a command which I want to copy.


To cut, press ctrl+u. To paste, use ctrl+y. This copies whole line to bash clipboard. If you're using X and default Ubuntu terminal, you can use your mouse to mark contents and press ctrl+shift+c to copy, and ctrl+shift+v to paste.

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  • 9
    I am using Xubuntu and while ctrl+u and ctrl+y works in the terminal, I need to be able to cut/copy from terminal and paste in a different app, which doesn't work. Possibly, ctrl+u cuts the text into terminal's own clipboard, not the global one? – mreq Jan 31 '14 at 9:19
  • You have to use X's clipboard. Try ctrl+shift+c and ctrl+shift+v. If you're using terminal (without graphical UI), you're out of luck. If you want to append commands to script file, you can use echo ping www.google.com >> filename.txt to work around it. – Olli Jan 31 '14 at 9:21
  • And tip: you can prefix commands easily by pressing ctrl+u, writing echo and then hitting ctrl+y to paste original command back. – Olli Jan 31 '14 at 9:22
  • @olli, easier would be to press ctrl+a to go to the beginning of prompt – Chicken Soup Feb 22 '19 at 7:45
  • @ratskin I don't know which terminal (emulator) you are using, that doesn't work for me. – Olli Feb 23 '19 at 8:32
  • Add a # to the front of the command (so it becomes a comment)
  • Run it
  • Grab it from the history and pipe it to a clipboard utillity like xclip: history | tail -n 1 | sed "s/[[:digit:]]* //" | sed "s/^#//" | xclip
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    An easier alternative is to add echo in front of the command and pipe to xclip. $ echo <command> | xclip -selection clipboard – Sameer May 2 '19 at 14:46

If you don't mind using the mouse, just triple click on the line you want to copy then press Ctrl+Shift+C. You can then paste it with Ctrl+V.

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    should be ctrl+shift+c to copy, shouldn't it? – Info5ek Apr 23 '17 at 8:50

In xfce4-terminal, you need to select with the mouse the text you'd like to copy, then right-click and then select the Copy item in the context-menu.

Does this work?

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